Our first day of touring in Jerusalem began at Hezekiah’s Tunnel. There is a wet tunnel and a dry tunnel. The tunnel is a water channel that was carved beneath the City of David in Jerusalem in the reign of Hezekiah of Judah (late 8th and early 7th century BC) and corresponds to the “water works” mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20 in the Bible. King Hezekiah prepared Jerusalem for an impending siege by the Assyrians, by “blocking the source of the waters of the upper Gihon, and leading them straight down on the west to the City of David” (2 Chronicles 32).
We then viewed down below the current ground level to where there was found a first century church. It is very close to David’s (traditional) tomb site. We stopped in there, where we could see men and women (each in their own sections) praying and reciting prayers.
Menorah inside of David’s tomb area.
We then headed to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, where we saw the Cardo. The Cardo (in Hebrew: HaCardo) was the main street in Ancient Roman cities, running from north to south and lined with a row of columns on each side. The Cardo of Jerusalem begins at the Damascus Gate in the north and crosses the city southwards until the area of the Zion Gate.
Columns at the Cardo. Jerusalem.
The Cardo is depicted in the Madaba Map, part of a floor mosaic dated to the 6th century AD that was discovered in a Byzantine church in Madaba, Jordan. The Madaba Map is a map of the Middle East, and contains the oldest surviving detailed cartographic depiction of Jerusalem.
The northern section of the Cardo stretches from the Damascus Gate to David Street, and dates back to Roman times. The southern section stretches from this point to the length of the western side of the Jewish Quarter and was built in the Byzantine period, in the 6th century AD, continuing the Roman Cardo to its north.
Beautiful homes in the Old City of Jerusalem. Jewish Quarter.
We then went to the Southern Wall excavations and Davidson Centre. There we learned about the Temple. The Second Temple was originally built in 516 BC but was drastically altered and expanded under Herod the Great from 37 BC to 4 BC. It was during this reconstruction that the southern side of Temple Mount was fortified. The southern retaining wall of Temple Mount would have risen 32 meters above street level and run for a length of 281 m. The Temple and almost all of the Temple Mount structures were destroyed by the Romans during the Jewish Revolt of 66 AD-70 AD.
Baruch spoke about the Divinity and humanity of Yeshua and that it is important to discern when a passage is speaking about Him, which aspect is being emphasised in the particular passage.
We then visited the place where they cast lots for Yeshua’s coat. This is Antonia Fortress, the site of Pontius Pilate’s praetorium, where Yeshua was tried for blasphemy. This was based on the Roman flagstones discovered beneath and was ‘the pavement’ which John 19:13 describes as the location of Yeshua’s trial.
We ended the day at a portion of the Western Wall excavations, where we saw 6 layers of eras of Jerusalem. We also saw a new synagogue which was funded by Yitzhak Tshuva, a very famous developer and land owner. He is the former owner of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
Part of an ancient pillar (left) and the modern synagogue situated deep beneath the city of Jerusalem of today.